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Magic-Celtics Preview

May 5, 2009 - 9:14 PM By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer

Orlando At Boston, Game Two, 8:00 p.m. EDT

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- The defending champion Boston Celtics lost the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against Orlando, then they turned on the television and watched Los Angeles, their opponent in last year's NBA finals, lose Game 1 of its second-round series in the West.

Paul Pierce doesn't understand why anyone is surprised.

"The teams that are left are the top four teams in their conferences. Every series is going to be competitive," he said Tuesday, a day after the Celtics erased most - but not enough - of a 28-point deficit and lost 95-90 to the Orlando Magic. "Whatever you did in the regular season, it's a whole new ballgame."

The Celtics needed no reminder after their first-round series against the seventh-seeded Bulls, in which a record four games went into an unprecedented total of seven overtimes. Boston also lost Game 1 of that series to cough up home court advantage but took Game 3 in Chicago to win it back.

Now the Celtics are facing a similar predicament in the second round after spotting Orlando a 65-37 lead early in the third quarter. Boston cut the deficit to four points, with a chance to make it a one-point game in the final minute, but Ray Allen's 3-point attempt banged around the rim and bounced out and Orlando held on. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston.

"We can't go out and dig ourselves a big hole like we did," Pierce said. "We lost Game 1 last series, but we don't want to practice getting down."

The 25-point comeback from a 28-point deficit is no consolation for Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who thought his team approached the game like a boxer starting out in a fight.

"You try to feel each other out for the first couple of rounds. But we would have been knocked out, clearly," he said. "I look at last night as a loss. That's more important to me than the fact that we had a fool's gold run at the end of the game. That didn't do it for me. That meant nothing."

Orlando has a history of coughing up big leads against Boston.

The Celtics cut a 22-point lead to three on March 8 and a 16-point lead to one on March 25, but the Magic won both games. Celtics All-Star Kevin Garnett missed the first game and left the second one after 16 minutes; he hasn't played since.

The Celtics haven't beaten Orlando without him.

"Even though we won the game, everybody's making it seem like it was a disaster game," said Magic forward Rashard Lewis, who scored 18 on Monday night. "We were highly upset in the locker room after our win, so that kind of shows you that we're hungry."

Garnett is expected to miss the entire series - and probably the rest of the playoffs - with strained ligaments in his right knee. The Magic got a boost when Dwight Howard returned from a one-game suspension, and they could get another if Courtney Lee comes back from a fractured sinus.

Lee was greeted with applause when he joined the team in Boston on Tuesday, and the cheers could be heard in the lobby at the downtown hotel where Orlando was meeting.

"That's my peoples," said Lee, who had stitches visible above his left brow. "It's been a while, so it felt good."

Lee missed the last game of Orlando's six-game victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and he is expected to miss the first two games of the second round with the hopes of returning for Game 3 in Orlando on Friday. He has been fitted for a protective mask, but he hasn't had a chance to test it out.

"I tried it on. It feels good. It's fitted to my face," said Lee, who averaged 8.4 points in 25 minutes per game this season. "I've just got to get out there and see how it feels when I'm sweating and when I'm running up and down and jumping and stuff."






  • 25
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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Magic 94, Celtics 112  FinalMay 7 1:15 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    ORLANDO 94
    BOSTON 112 FINAL

    May 6 10:37 PM
  • 20
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Magic 86, Celtics 102  4th - 3:45May 6 10:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    ORLANDO 64
    BOSTON 86 END, 3RD QTR

    May 6 9:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    ORLANDO 46
    BOSTON 61 HALFTIME

    May 6 9:07 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    ORLANDO 21
    BOSTON 26 END, 1ST QTR

    May 6 8:30 PM
  • 10
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    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Magic vs. CelticsMay 6 5:42 AM